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GW President Steven Knapp to Attend Inauguration of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak

Trip Highlights University's Longstanding Ties to Asian Nation; Incoming President Served as Visiting Scholar at GW

February 20, 2008

WASHINGTON - George Washington University President Steven Knapp will travel to Seoul to participate in South Korean President-elect Lee Myung-bak's inauguration on Feb. 25, 2008. President-elect Lee was a visiting scholar at GW in 1999, bringing his more than two decades of business and political expertise to the university.

Nearly 800 GW graduates reside in South Korea, making it the largest alumni community outside North America. With more than 200 current undergraduate and graduate students, Koreans are the second-largest international student group represented at the university.

"In 1999, GW had the privilege of hosting President-elect Lee as a visiting scholar at GW's School of Business," said Knapp. "I am honored to have been asked to participate in this historic event. This marks a new chapter in the university's special relationship with the Republic of Korea as we continue to reach out to our global community."

The George Washington University has extensive ties with South Korea dating back to the late 19th century. Notable Korean alumni include Philip Jaisohn who received an M.D. from GW in 1892, becoming the first Korean to receive a medical degree in the United States. An ardent supporter of the Korean independence movement, Jaisohn founded the first Korean newspaper to use the Korean alphabet. Korea's first president, Syngman Rhee, graduated from GW, and received a B.A. in 1907 and an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1954.

In addition, the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, housed in the Elliott School of International Affairs, has six South Korean visiting scholars and several faculty experts in Korean language, literature, politics, and economics. GW's Center for International Science and Technology Policy has five partnerships with Korean institutions.

Located four blocks from the White House, The George Washington University was created by an Act of Congress in 1821. Today, GW is the largest institution of higher education in the nation's capital. The university offers comprehensive programs of undergraduate and graduate liberal arts study as well as degree programs in medicine, public health, law, engineering, education, business, and international affairs. Each year, GW enrolls a diverse population of undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 130 countries.

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